Characterization of household waste in Greenland

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The composition of household waste in Greenland was investigated for the first time. About 2tonnes of household waste was sampled as every 7th bag collected during 1week along the scheduled collection routes in Sisimiut, the second largest town in Greenland with about 5400 inhabitants. The collection bags were sorted manually into 10 material fractions. The household waste composition consisted primarily of biowaste (43%) and the combustible fraction (30%), including anything combustible that did not belong to other clean fractions as paper, cardboard and plastic. Paper (8%) (dominated by magazine type paper) and glass (7%) were other important material fractions of the household waste. The remaining approximately 10% constituted of steel (1.5%), aluminum (0.5%), plastic (2.4%), wood (1.0%), non-combustible waste (1.8%) and household hazardous waste (1.2%). The high content of biowaste and the low content of paper make Greenlandic waste much different from Danish household waste. The moisture content, calorific value and chemical composition (55 elements, of which 22 were below detection limits) were determined for each material fraction. These characteristics were similar to what has been found for material fractions in Danish household waste. The chemical composition and the calorific value of the plastic fraction revealed that this fraction was not clean but contained a lot of biowaste. The established waste composition is useful in assessing alternative waste management schemes for household waste in Greenland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1461-1466
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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